94. Jerri Chou

Founder of The Feast Social Innovation Conference, How To Plan A Great Conference Day

94. Jerri Chou

This invite-only gathering for innovative do-gooders has matured into the kind of event where you see people before they get a TED Talk. The Feast expands this fall into a full Social Innovation Week. This is Jerri Chou’s perfect day:



9:55-10:15 a.m.

“Two to three big names out of 10 to 12 speakers lend legitimacy.” Beware of the overexposed; everyone may have already seen Diane von Furstenberg.

Up-and-comer in TECH

10:25-10:40 a.m.

Having just one “mind-blowing” tech innovation is good (such as farming in vertical spaces). Two or more starts to feel like a tech-industry conference.

Up-and-comer in ARTS

11-11:20 a.m.

An emotional storyteller–a musician/activist, say—spurs conversations at the lunch that follows.

ROUNDTABLE talks/Lunch

11:30 a.m-1:30 p.m.

No Q&A. Instead, Chou asks speakers to facilitate small roundtable discussions. The head count is shrinking from 400 to 350 this year, to increase participation and relationship building.

Breakout Sessions

1:45-2:45 p.m.

Giving participants the chance to lead workshops raises the chances that people will put ideas into action, and not “just sit and clap and plan to make something happen later.”


Coworking Session, offsite

2:45-5 p.m.

Collaboration is better with a tangible outcome–so Chou invites students and the public to watch exhibitions and participate in brainstorming. Students are important: They help bring the Feast’s social mission to life.


7-10 p.m.

People need to leave feeling jazzed.


  • 2001

    Joins a sketch comedy troupe in college

  • 2005

    Learns how to breakdance

  • 2006

    Starts All Day Buffet

  • 2008

    Starts The Feast Social Innovation Conference

  • 2010

    Leads LOVELY DAY’s first major corporate project; travels to Africa to support open innovation across the continent; meets a real-life pirate in Finland

  • 2011

    Moderates a panel at the United Nations before the arrival of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon; receives the Reisenbach Foundation Young Leader Award; meets the man of her dreams